Bengaluru: Assamese people living and working in Bengaluru castigate the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, sporting their traditional towel at Town Hall on Dec 16, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
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Thousands of Bengalureans protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), calling the movement another ‘freedom struggle’. The protest took place on Sunday evening.

“We have another freedom movement… to free India from the real ‘tukde tukde’ gang dividing Indians based on identity,” tweeted Congress Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda.

The former Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) professor called on the protesters to take a pledge to fight for an inclusive India and celebrate diversity.

“I urge everyone to join the struggle to save the soul of our country,” Gowda said as he participated in the demonstration at the Townhall in Bengaluru.

A huge Flexi poster was hung to the columns of the Acropolis-styled Townhall facade with the inscription ‘India Against CAA’ and the preamble of the Constitution of India juxtaposed.

The protesters waved the Karnataka state flag, Indian flag and placards as they shouted slogans against the new law offering citizenship to the persecuted Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Muslim minority sects such as Shias, Ahmadiyas, and others are persecuted in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

A placard at the Townhall read: “Stop attack on the Indian Constitution. #AgainstCAA.”

Making his presence felt at the protest, historian Ramachandra Guha said India was founded on the principles of diversity. “We want democracy, we want pluralism,” Guha said.

Sowmya Reddy, Karnataka Legislative Assemblymember from Jayanagara spoke at the CAA protest demonstration.

She said: “A revolution has begun! We will not let India’s diversity die. Thanks to all the organizers. Wake up.”

Many members of the Muslim community also took part in the protest on Sunday.

Earlier on Friday, thousands of Muslims protested across Karnataka after Friday prayers and presented memoranda against the CAA.

On Saturday, hundreds of Assamese and people from other northeastern states, working and living in Bengaluru, protested against the CAA at Townhall.

Usha Agarwalla, Guwahati resident and an employee in Bengaluru said CAA is not in favor of Assamese people and discriminatory.

“For a long time, Assam has been grappling with the issue of immigration. Assam Accord of 1985 was drafted to settle the issue. According to clause 5, migrants who came to Assam between 1966-71 will be identified as foreigners and will be given rights according to the Foreigners Act. The rest had to be deported,” Aggarwal told IANS.

Aggarwal alleged that Assam Accord promises were not honored and nobody was deported.

“The communities living in Assam are facing a dearth of social and economic resources. The people of Assam don’t want any illegal migrants because the resources are limited and the state cannot carry the burden of so many people”.

Anuja Sengupta, another Guwahati resident in the city, said the photographs and videos shared by her family back in Assam in the aftermath of the passing of CAA frightened her.

“I am against CAA. The actions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police towards Assamese students are shameful and condemnable. This is not how we treat the young minds of this country. India is a democracy, and we have a right to protest,” Sengupta told IANS.

Meanwhile, Assam Association Bangalore shared a video of its protest at the Townhall in the city.

The association’s facebook page posted on December 11 highlighted that the percentage of Assamese speakers in Assam has declined and other language speakers have increased in a 20-year space between 1991 and 2011.

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